Tom Greenthumb Gardening

Friday, March 31, 2006

Kitchen Tip: Dry Your Own Herbs

If you're like me, sometmes you grow too many fresh herbs in the garden. Martha Stewart offers some great advice for drying a partial amount of the herbs.

'When you buy a bunch of fresh herbs and need only a bit, here's how to save the rest.

How It's Done
Wrap a piece of kitchen twine around the stems, creating a loop. Hang the bunch, upside down, in a cool, dry place. Most herbs will take from four to ten days to dry. Once they're crisp, pick leaves from stems, and place in a tightly sealed jar. Label and date.

Store in a cool, dark place; dried herbs will keep for about six months.

Note: Use this technique to dry sturdy herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage.'

Read more at Kitchen Tip: Dry Your Own Herbs

Medicinal Uses of Oregano - Pizza, Lasagna, Spaghetti Sauce

While oregano is known to spice up favorite foods such as pizza, lasagna, and spaghetti sauce, the medicinal uses oregano offers are also quite valuable. A few of them include the following:

  • Alleviating Upset Stomach:
  • This may help after that third helping of lasagna.
  • Indigestion:
  • I know my homemade pizza is delicious, but you ate the whole thing.
  • Bloating and flatulence:
  • Mamas spaghetti sauce always does this to me.
  • Toothaches:
  • If you were eating more herbs and natural foods from the garden you might have avoided this problem altogether.
  • Coughing:
  • Be sure and bundle up when working in the garden on those colder days.
  • Antigungal Agents:
  • Oregano oil has been shown by researchers to be a much safer form of combat against fungus than some popular drugs.

I usually grow Greek oregano in my herb garden. This white-flowered variety offers a more flavorful, pungent taste to some of my favorite foods. It's actually best if this plant is harvested before the flowers are allowed to bloom. I've found that the leaves have their best flavor at this time of maturity. Drying the herb, rather than using it fresh, actually increases the intensity of flavor. I store mine in the refrigerator using the same method for drying as I do basil.

So the next time you eat too much pizza, you might remember some of the medicinal uses oregano brings us. Herbs can be utilized in a plethora of ways. Whether you're cooking, or curing an ailment, growing and using your own herbs is fun and rewarding.